Polycystic ovary syndrome and brain: An update on structural and functional studies.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common endocrine disorder of women in reproductive age and is associated with reproductive, endocrine, metabolic, cardiovascular and psychological outcomes. All these disorders are thought to be affected by central mechanisms which could be a major contributor in pathogenesis of PCOS.This mini-review discusses the relevance of central nervous system imaging modalities in understanding the neuroendocrine origins of PCOS as well as their relevance to understanding its comorbidities.Current data suggest that central nervous system plays a key role in development of PCOS. Decreased global and regional brain volumes and altered white matter microstructure in women with PCOS is shown by structural imaging modalities. Functional studies show diminished reward response in corticolimbic areas, brain glucose hypometabolism and greater opioid receptor availability in reward related regions in insulin resistant patients with PCOS. These structural and functional disturbances are associated with non-homeostatic eating, diminished appetitive responses as well as cognitive dysfunction and mood disorders in women with PCOS.Structural and functional brain imaging is an emerging modality in understanding pathophysiology of metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity as well as PCOS. Neuroimaging can help researchers and clinicians for better understanding the pathophysiology of PCOS and related comorbidities as well as better phenotyping PCOS.